WIPO snippets

The IPKat has learned that Nicaragua has acceded to the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure, with effect from 10 August 2006. And on 21 July 2006 Samoa becomes an operative member of the Berne Union.

In the bag?

Today's Lawtel brings news of Scanlan v Westerman, a Patents Court decision of Mr Justice Mann yesterday on appeal from the Patent Office. This was an appeal by Andrew Scanlan against the refusal of a Patent Office hearing officer to allow his patent application entitled "carrier bag holder".

The claimed invention (see illustration, left) was "a handle designed to facilitate the re-use of carrier bags". The hearing officer considered the ten examples of prior art, all being some form of bag handle that operated by inserting the handles of modern, plastic, disposable carrier bags into the slots of the handle. These, he said, showed that the application failed for lack of novelty under the Patents Act 1977 s.1(1)(a). Scanlan appealed, arguing that the hearing officer's decision contained contradictions and was fatally flawed.

Mann J, dismissing the appeal, did not agree. The fact that the hearing officer's decision contained a minor contradiction did not mean that his decision was flawed. In this case, not only was the hearing officer's conclusion justifiable - it was the only justifiable conclusion.

The IPKat is saddened when manifestly no-hope patent applications come to light. He knows how excited inventors can get - and everyone else in the world can see the truth, given the benefit of objectivity. Merpel agrees and adds, sometimes design protection would be more appropriate, but the cachet of being an inventor and the belief that there is a simple equation linking patents with profits, fuel the fire of patent applications that should be doused at the first opportunity.

More carrier bag handles here and here
Plastic bag obsession here
WIPO SNIPPETS; IN THE BAG WIPO SNIPPETS; IN THE BAG Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, May 19, 2006 Rating: 5

1 comment:

Guy said...

Sadly no hopers abound. Already this year two Hearings have been held, see Patent Office cases O/038/06 and O/044/06, relating to examiners' refusals to proceed with perpetual motion machines. In each case the Hearing Officer confirmed the examiners' refusals. Some years ago the late Arthur Pedrick filed many patent applications which were all considered no hopers. This year the water companies in Southern England are considered his ideas for bringing ice and snow from the arctic!

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